` Shaleia Reid and Jamila Manning | From Dana's Guests | DanaRoc.com

From Dana's Guests

Shaleia Reid and Jamila Manning,
Young Entrepreneurs

<em>Empress Magazine</em> Jamila Manning is the Publisher of Empress Magazine. She graduated cum laude with a Bachelors degree in Business Management and specialization in Finance from Adelphi University and currently works at a top Real Estate Investments firm. Jamila also gives back to the community as Associate Director of Redemption, a nonprofit in the NYC area that promotes higher education to teenagers.

Shaleia Reid is the Editorial Director for Empress Magazine. She graduated from Hofstra University with a Bachelors degree in Business Administration with a specialization in management and a minor in Fine Arts. She currently works at a publishing company as an Inventory Coordinator. She enjoys writing, reading and working on different art projects.

Their very first big interview was with Jennifer Hudson. They got it because they had the nerve to ask. They reached for the stars and got one and now they are not afraid to ask for the moon.

Their youthful ambition is a reminder to all of us that we really can have, if we'll only just believe...


Jennifer Hudson

Something Like A Dream... Jennifer Hudson

Empress Magazine got the opportunity to interview the rising star of Dream Girls Jennifer Hudson. In this revealing interview Jennifer talks about everything from “dropping” out of college to pursue her passion, how her life has changed since being propelled into the spotlight and future projects.

What gave you the courage to drop out of college?

JH: Well, I don’t actually consider myself a college dropout, I consider myself a college fugitive. But I just got an opportunity and the reason why we go to school, you know is to get that career path and I had an opportunity to take it. So why would I not take that opportunity, and umh to do what I love to do in my career of singing and I had the opportunity to do a play and I took that chance. I believed in myself and went for it.

And it actually paid off, you were a finalist on American Idol and you are in Dream Girls now.

JH: "Effie" was the underdog and pushed out of the spot light for the more mainstream looking lead, although she was a great singer and could hold the spotlight on her own, she was placed on the back burner. In real life it seems that the media was trying to do the same but is now realizing that you the break through star of this movie. The different worlds seem parallel, any thoughts on that.

I never really thought about it like that, or really even thought about it. I’m just happy to be in the movie, you know. Umh, but I think everyone did what we were supposed to do. We played the roles that we were supposed to be and its an ensemble piece, not so much of another sticking out. You know what I mean.

As far as your costars, did you have any special moment you shared with them?

JH: Well every moment was something just being able to work with my favorite stars like Beyonce and Jamie Foxx was special to me. So I can’t even began to pull out or pick out a certain moment.

So there isn’t a specific thing y’all shared or like a joke you would continue for a week, like how you would with your girlfriends?

JH: No we had a good time. Everyday every moment was something different and fun and we enjoyed each other’s company.

What role would you like to play next? And who would you like to play opposite of?

JH: Wow, I would love to do something with Denzel Washington {laugh}. I want to do something more serious more, well, dramatic, umh; on story in particular I am interested in is the Jackie Robinson story.

Oh really, why would you pick Jackie Robinson’s story?

JH: Cause you know when you read into it, I just think it is something that’s interesting and special and of course it is about our culture and history. I like to do things with substance and a meaning and I think it has great substance and a meaning.

Would you ever do a comedy?

JH: Oh I would love to do a comedy, I think that would be more challenging next to doing a musical cause I think of course I haven’t had much experience in acting but just from learning and being apart of it I think that it is harder to do a musical and the comedy will follow behind. Unless action, but I’m not trying to do all of that

No flipping over or anything like that. What do you prefer more, if you prefer one over the other, is it singing or acting?

JH: Music has always been my life and I would always pick music first, but then again acting has been so good to me {laugh} so I don’t know, but what I hope to do is continue to do them both and I hope I never have to choose.

Oh ok, that would be a challenge. What do you see yourself doing 10 years from now?

JH: First off, within the next two years I plan on going back to school because that is an ultimate goal for me to get my diploma. What else? Just continue doing what I am doing. I hope to be able to have longevity. I want to be around 10, 20 years from now and that is what I am hoping for.

So you want to become a legend ultimately?

JH: Yup

Backtracking to college, what was your major?

JH: I didn’t get to a major, in one because I didn’t want to major in music because never wanted to teach it. I couldn’t perform it then I wasn’t interested, but I took general courses. I was probably looking more into Art because I draw as well as sing

Now with you being a rising star and all the attention you are getting from the media, and being on TV and all of that. Have you run into any issues as far as in dating, and friend wise and family wise, have you lost any friends or is it a challenge balancing that?

JH: For the most part my family and my friends, I still have the same people around me and they’ve watched me go through this, and know how bad I wanted it so they are all very supportive. I am very blessed to have a great and supportive background. I don’t think I am really faced with those issues, but from time to time you do run into people that just try to attach to you just because of who you are and what they can get from you and what they can accomplish. But eventually they get weeded out anyway.

Do you have any other projects coming up like, clothing, a linger line, perfume, something like that and what is in the future for you?

JH: Well my album is next for me, but I don’t have anything like that coming up, but you gave me some ideas, I like that.

DR: Tell me about Empress Magazine.

SR: Empress Magazine is a lifestyle magazine for young urban women. It's about empowering young women. We just want them to believe that they can do anything that they want to do, from home ownership to achieving ambitious career goals to being in successful relationships.

Right now we are an online magazine. We explore topics ranging from relationships to self improvement to fashion and beauty. We touch on a wide range of things...

JM: ...It's a younger version of some of other magazines that have created great legacies but that are targeted toward an older generation.

We weren't finding anything that specifically spoke to young urban women.

DR: What inspired you to do a magazine like this?

JM: Seeing that there was a gap out there.

We didn't feel like there was a magazine that spoke directly to us or women like us. We wanted to get our voices heard. We want Empress to be more than just a magazine. We want it to be a movement because we want to empower women.

DR: What is it that you want people to know about you?

SR: I want them to know that I want to affect people's lives in a positive way. I want people to know that I am a hard worker and ready to do anything at anytime. I can touch different people that aren't necessarily my friends and through Empress Magazine, I feel like I can do that.

I have a lot to give. I don't think a lot of people know that about me. Sometimes you can be afraid to let people know how you really are because you are not sure how they will take it. But what I really want people to know is that I want to give.

I just want to help others.

JM: What I want people to know about me is that I am very driven.

When people tell me that I can't do something, I make it a point to find a way to do it.

I dream big. When most people would be thinking about owning one company or becoming a millionaire, I am trying to figure out:

"How I can get an airport named after me?"


"How can I become a BILLIONAIRE?"

I am a big dreamer but I also consider myself to be someone who executes. I want to figure out how I can get myself to the place I ultimately want to be.

I am very driven. One day I want to take over the world!


DR: What are you most grateful for?

JM: I am grateful that we can do what we are doing.

I am grateful that we have support from family and friends and that we have a product and that we're healthy and young.

I am grateful for our education...

SR: I am grateful that I have the ability to see beyond the horizon.

Some people think inside the box but I am someone who makes it a habit to think outside of the box. I am not afraid to just go for something.

I am grateful for my family. They are my backbone.

DR: What do you guys have that you don't want and what do you want that you don't have?

JM: I don't have patience but I'm working on that. I have impatience. I wish I could walk a little slower and understand that things won't always happen as quickly as I want them to. That would probably give me some peace of mind.

SR: I don't have a million dollars. I want that.

I want a better temper. Sometimes I can be snappy and very defensive. I'm not like that all of the time but I know it is something that I need to work on. You won't get far in life if you take every comment personally or get upset over the smallest things. A better temper is something I would like to have. For now I am working on the one I have.

DR: What do you ultimately want to be known for?

JM: Other than being known as the "Empress Girls"?

DR: Yeah...

JM: I want to be known as a young woman who started, not just a magazine but a cultural movement and then from there had bigger ideas that became companies that deliver the message that -

women can do anything.

SR: I want to be known for opening doors. I want to be a woman who pioneers.

Shaleia and Jamila are well on their way to achieving their dreams. I wish them well!

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for the Empress Magazine Email Newsletter

Head back to the top.